Brunch


I know how many feel about Lauriol Plaza.  And I am one of those who groans and rolls her eyes when the restaurant comes up as a dinner choice.  But when it was clear I wasn’t going to get out of going this time, I decided to suck it up and go.  Besides, maybe it would be better than the last time I went…

  • Food:  I can’t lie.  Lauriol Plaza is a good place to go when you have a large group of people.  Their chips are always hot, thin, and fresh out of the fryer.  Plus, when you add the fact they’re free — who doesn’t appreciate it?  They offer two sides of salsa — one pico de gallo and the other is a hotter mixture.  Their guacamole is decent with good flavors and chunks of avocado.  I ordered their steak fajitas, which when you think about it, you can’t really mess up.  good.  But make no mistake, they really serve Tex-Mex food.
  • Service: Once you get a table, they are good about getting your order, serving your food, and cleaning up quickly. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s actually three levels and outside seating.  It’s a huge restaurant and can be super loud when it’s packed.  The bar is usually jammed as well. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:  Is it worth the long lines at night and on the weekends?  I’m not a wait in line kind of person so I say no.  If you’ve never been to DC, I’d say to pass this place.  But after living here for five years, it makes sense that you’d try it at least once. 

Details:

  • Reservations are not accepted, but at night and on weekends, be prepared for a super long wait! 
  • Hours: Mon-Thu,Sun 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-12am
  • Address: 1835 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 387-0035

A few years ago (2-3), I went to Odeon Cafe and had a really great Italian dinner.  The food was delicious, service was good, and had an overall positive experience.  When a couple of friends wanted to go to brunch one Sunday, I didn’t hesitate to mention Odeon Cafe since a different friend had recommended the place.  Since I enjoyed my meal the last time I was there and so did she, I thought this would be a great brunch…

  • Food:I ordered the Cafe Odeon Benedict eggs.  The entire plate was cold and the poached eggs were terribly overcooked (the yolk was completely hard).  The potatoes had no flavor.  One friend ordered the salmon crepes which was the loser of the table.  The crepes were too thick, doughy, and chewy.  There was no salmon flavor whatsoever.   The winning plate was the salmon egg white omelet, but it was also cold.  However, the eggs were nicely cooked with a nice salmon flavor. 
  • Service: Despite an empty restaurant, the server rarely appeared.  When he did stop by the table, he was nice.
  • Atmosphere: There are two stories and in the summer, the windows in the front open.  On the left-hand side, there’s a bar (about 12-15 stools). 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:Did the restaurant change owners?  Did they get a new chef?  Who knows?  Stick to the egg white omelet with salmon for brunch and it’ll be OK.   I haven’t been in a long time for dinner but would love to hear from you about your experiences…

Details:

  • Hours: Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 9:00am – 4:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:30am – 4:00pm; Dinner: Nightly: 4:00pm – 12:00am
  • Address: 1714 Connecticut Ave N.W.; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 328-6228

For the last five years, I had been dragging my feet in going to Rosa Mexicano.  To me, when you’re repeatedly told that there are only a few good things on the menu, it’s not exactly a great endorsement.  Well, after reading numerous reviews and since I wasn’t paying, I finally went.

  • Food: We ordered guacamole which came with thick chips which were good.  There were nice chunks of avocado, but I still think my recipe would win in a guac contest.  I ordered the short ribs since it was the only thing that received constant praise and I was not disappointed.  They were so tender and made a knife completely unnecessary.  There are three HUGE pieces of short ribs on the plate.  Next time, I’d split the ribs with a couple of friends since it’d be more than enough food.  They brought black beans to the table which I thought were under-seasoned while the rice was completely over-seasoned and had too much lime juice. 
  • Service: Our server was OK, but as the restaurant got busier, he became more and more absent.
  • Atmosphere: The interior has bright colors and a comfortable atmosphere.  The bar is packed after work for happy hours (I couldn’t find any information that they offered drink/food discounts). 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$/$$$
  • Overall:  Since I didn’t pay for dinner,  I didn’t care.  But I think if I ever go back, I’d definitely order the short ribs again to share with others…and yes, the guacamole.

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:30am-3pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11am-3pm; Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday: 4-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday: 4-11:30pm; Sunset: Daily 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • Address: 575 7th St NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 783-5522

While I’ve been to Iron Gate tons of times, but never ventured across the street to Tabard Inn — until recently.

  • Food: They offer a bread basket with a few different types of bread.  I tried the kalamata olive bread and it was pretty good.  I ordered the fried catfish tacos with house-made tortillas, jicama salad, refried beans, mango salsa.  Instead of the jicama salad, they put a huge scoop of guacamole.  Now this was pretty good stuff with big chunks of avocado (although not as good as mine…).  While the fish wasn’t crispy, the coleslaw-type topping (cabbage and carrots without mayo) was delicious.  The black beans were over-salted though.
  • Service: Our server was nice and my ice tea was refilled when needed.  Good stuff.
  • Atmosphere: If Iron Gate is the perfect place to go in the summer, Tabard Inn is the great place go to in the winter.  With fireplaces all over the restaurant and inn, it would seem like it’s a bit like Russia House.  But to be honest, I think Tabard Inn would be even better than Iron Gate for the summer too because they have a decent sized porch with 10-15 tables and a huge mesh cover for the top that helps shield the sun (photos here).  With hardwood floors,  low ceilings, and a comfortable bar — it seems almost like you’re in a person’s house. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: With a decent menu and a good atmosphere, this is a fun place to go.  I’d gladly go back to try other items.

Details:

  • Reservations recommended (although they keep a few tables open for walk-ins)
  • Hours: Breakfast Mon-Fri 7 AM-10 AM, Sat 8 AM-9:45 AM, Sun 8 AM-9:15 AM; Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Dinner Sun-Thurs 6 PM-9:30 PM, Fri & Sat 6 PM-10 PM; Brunch Sat 11 AM-2:30 PM, Sun 10:30 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1739 N Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-833-2668

This is only going to be a drinks and appetizer blog posting for District ChopHouse.  I still haven’t had a meal there.

But I went after work and it was surprisingly not very packed.  They have a couple of homemade beers that were 1/2 price, but otherwise not really a great place for happy hour (no wines or food).  But their extensive homemade beer list is what drew us to the place.

Happy Hour runs Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Anyway, we ordered their calamari, chicken tenders, and Pancetta wrapped shrimp.  I’ll start with my least favorite and most disappointing – calamari.  It was long calamari (not rings) but that’s not why I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t crispy which is the biggest sin when talking about fried calamari.

The next was the shrimp which were really small.  The reason it wasn’t my least favorite was because anything wrapped in Pancetta is going to be good.  Pancetta solves all. 

The winner was the chicken tenders, which are usually not my favorite at all.  But these were seriously tasty.  They were crispy and the inside was seriously moist and, well, tender.  Plus, the honey mustard and BBQ sauces were pretty good. 

Side note: Onion rings passed by our table and my eyes were almost as big as they were.  They looked awesome.  Alas, we were full or we would have ordered some.  Anyone try them?  Are they as good as they appeared?

Details:

  • Hours: Mon.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Tue. – Fri.: 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sat.: – 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sun.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Sat. and Sun. Brunch – 11:00am to 3:00pm
    Address: 509 7th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 347-3434

I am not a bourbon drinker.  I’ve tried it but it’s just not my thing.  I’m not a fan of dark alcohol.  But I am a fan of Bourbon, the restaurant in Adams Morgan.  Wow!

  • Food: While Bourbon is a bar, the food is upscale bar food.  I ordered the grilled chicken and it was delicious.  The bourbon sauce on the sandwich was a perfect combination of tangy and sweet.  The baked beans had a little too much sugar for my taste, but it was good.  We ordered onion rings which were perfectly fried crispy.  The seasoning was interesting — it wasn’t as mixed throughout the onion rings as much as it should have been so there were some bites that had a little kick while others were a bit bland.  My friend ordered the veggie burger which wasn’t frozen, but a handmade veggie paddy. 
  • Service: Our server was nice and quick with the ice tea refills.
  • Atmosphere: They have an outdoor deck in the back and an upstairs dining/bar area.  But we stayed downstairs at the bar.  I loved the casual atmosphere.  And while we were there on a Sunday morning, there was no smell of the previous night and it was very clean.  So yes, you can definitely take your parents here!
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While my expectations may have been a bit low, I really enjoyed their food and would gladly go back for dinner and brunch.  Plus, for anyone who is a serious bourbon drinker, they’ll love it! 

Details:

  • Hours: Dinner daily 6 PM-11 PM; Brunch Sat & Sun 11:30 AM-4 PM
  • Address: 2321 18th Street NW; Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-332-0800

So another friend is leaving the city and so we went out for a last DC meal.  Now she has promised she’s coming back to the city and I am going to visit her, so that will work out.  But it still stinks.

Anyway, we were feeling indifferent on where to go and so she picked Rumba Cafe.

  • Food: We ordered an appetizer to split — the Arepa de Carne Flour corn cake with mild beef stew.  It was pretty good.  My friend ordered the Ropa vieja shredded beef stew with a huge yellow plantain, and rice and beans.  The beef was tender and had good flavor.  I ordered the Mero entomatado which is a filet of Red Snapper with garlic, bell pepper, red onion, tomato, and white wine.  I thought my meal didn’t have a lot of flavor. 
  • Service: The servers have a tendency to hoover around the tables, but they are very nice.
  • Atmosphere: There are 8 very closely put together tables outside, but it is nice place for a leisurely meal.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While the food was decent, I thought it was a bit more expensive than necessary.  There are lots of other yummy Latin American restaurants I’d rather drop $30-40/person. 

Details:

  • Hours: Restaurant Mon-Fri 5 PM-12 midnight; Sat & Sun 11 AM-12 midnight; Weekend Brunch 11 AM-4 PM; Bar Mon-Thurs 5 PM-2 AM; Fri 5 PM-3 AM; Sat 11 AM-3 AM; Sun 11 AM-2 AM 
  • Address: 2443 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 588-5501

I love what has happened with Columbia Heights.  There’s a great energy to the area.  I love visiting and checking out the new places.  So while I know Logan @ The Heights isn’t new, it was to me!

  • Food: I ordered the mixed greens with jicama and orange vinaigrette.  The salad was good and refreshing, but I think it’s because I love jicama.  I also ordered ginger fried calamari.  The sauce was too sweet and the calamari wasn’t crunchy at all.  Quite disappointing.
  • Service: We ordered at the bar so our service was lacking.  While it wasn’t that busy, he kept disappearing. 
  • Atmosphere: I love the interior.  It’s simple and comfortable.  There’s dark wood and tons of seating. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While the ginger fried calamari was disappointing, I really liked this restaurant.  It has a great neighborhood feel.  I’ll definitely go back to try out some other food.  It seems like simple cuisine is going to be the best bet.  Oh, and if you’re looking for a place with the most Bloody Mary options, you’ve found it.

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4-7 PM at the bar with cheaper food; Sam Adams $3.50 and Brooklyn Lager $3.75; wine for $3.25.  To see the full menu, click here.

Details:

  • Reservations are taken Sun-Thurs Dinner & Weekday Lunch: Any size, any time; Fri & Sat Dinner: 7 – 10 pm, Parties of 5 or more only; Weekend Brunch: Parties of 5 or more only
  • Address: 3115 14th St. NW, Washington DC, 20010
  • Hours: Dinner: Mon-Fri, 5 pm; Sat & Sun, 4 pm; Lunch: Mon-Fri, Noon – 5 pm; Brunch: Sat & Sun, 11 am – 4 pm
  • Ph: 202-797-7227

The evening started out rough when we went to Hudson and no one waited on my friend and me.  We were both dressed business casual (coming straight from the office) yet NO ONE WAITED ON US.  We sat there for 15 minutes and nothing.  And in case you’re thinking, “Well, they were busy/short-staffed.”  No, there were about 5-9 employees who stood/sat there and only about 10 total people in the entire restaurant.  Wow. 

So then we decided to go to M Street Bar & Grill

The food was uninspired, yet we ordered a lot of it! We tried the prosciutto crisps, Angus sliders, bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits, mini pulled pork sandwiches, and handcut fries.  The winner out of the bunch was definitely the pulled pork because there was a little heat and balanced well with the sweetness from the BBQ sauce.  The burgers were dry and flavorless (and too much bun to meat ratio).  The fries were soggy.  There are too many problems to mention with the prosciutto crisps.

But the reason I’m writing about this place is because they have a pretty good happy hour.  It’s $19 for a pitcher of house mojitos or margaritas from 5-8 PM.  Now that’s a good deal! They also have beer and house wine on special.  On Wednesday nights, they have 1/2 priced wine with dinner.  Thursdays are live jazz nights from 6-9 PM. 

This is a good place to go for a few drinks with friends because you can talk (and hear) each other.  Although there were points throughout our evening where we realized the music was too loud, which we wouldn’t have noticed as much except they have a bad stereo system so it was rather annoying.

Details:

  • Hours: Breakfast – Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 10:30am, Saturday & Sunday: 7:30am – 10:30am; Brunch: Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm; 21 M lounge: Open For Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM Cocktails Mon-Sat 5 PM- Closing
  • Address: 2033 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 530-3621

Brasserie Beck.  I was supposed to go a couple of different times but things kept happening that prevented my visit.  I finally made it with a couple of friends. 

On a total personal side note, both of my food-loving friends (who are always up to try new places and cuisine) are leaving DC!  Ugh, it’s so depressing when cool, fun people leave this city.  Damn.  Now who am I going to go out to dinner with? 

  • Food:The bread they sit in front of you when you first sit down was crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  The butter was so incredibly rich and smooth.  Wow.  Outstanding!  Huge statement is about to be made — I think their mussels and frites are the best in town.  The frites were incredibly crispy with three sauces — aioli, curry, and tomato.  The mussels were hot (temperature wise) and so good.  As my friend pointed out though, there were a few that were a bit gritty, but it is so hard to get all the grit out.  I’m kinda used to it by now.  I also loved taking chunks of the bread and dipping into the mussels sauce.  Yum.  My friends ordered the chicken waterzooi and beef carbonnade.  Both were good, but neither one were better than my mussels! 
  • Service: Our server was really rather irritating to be quite honest.  I’m going to be nice and say that she was perhaps having a bad day, but she was very much “off her game” the evening we went.  She was absent when we needed her and rarely checked in to see how things were going.  Although when she did check in, it was two seconds after our food was delivered so we had yet to try the food.  Yeah, definitely bad timing!
  • Atmosphere:They have huge outdoor patio and while there’s little atmosphere outside (lots of concrete), it’s another restaurant that offers outdoor seating (yay).  We sat inside and the tables are smooshed together so it is a bit crowded.  But it is a relaxed atmosphere so I like it.
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$/$$
  • Overall:While Belgian food isn’t my favorite, I loved Brasserie Beck’s mussels and frites.  I would absolutely go again.  And make sure to read the comments below — thanks to Ralph who reminded me about their vast beer offerings.  Here’s a link to their beer menu

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-5 PM; Dinner Mon-Thurs 5-11 PM and Fri & Sat 5 PM-11:30 PM; Brunch Sundays 11:30AM-8 PPM
  • Address: 1101 K St, NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: 202-408-1717

Yet again, another new dining experience!  This time, it was the Bombay Club, owned by the same folks who own a favorite restaurant of mine — Rasika

  • Food: With my love of spicy food, I asked the waiter what would be better — green chili chicken or the Tandoori chicken chops.  He said the Tandoori chicken chops was spicier than the green chili chicken.  So not feeling like having a running nose and tearing eyes, I ordered the green chili chicken.  I went with a couple other folks and one of them ordered the other “spicy” dish.  Folks, my dish was a thousand times spicier than the Tandoori chicken chops.  I had tears and my sinuses were definitely cleared.  But, I did like it — even though the spiciness overpowered the cilantro and mint.  We also ordered a basket of their assorted breads which were very good (and helped ease the heat).
  • Service: Our waiter was very nice, but he was dead wrong on the spicy food.  Thankfully, I have a pretty strong spicy food tolerance, but it was still hot. 
  • Atmosphere: The interior is classic, simple elegance. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I’ll definitely go back to try some of their other dishes like their chicken tikka or some of their lamb dishes. 

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Friday – Saturday: 6:00pm – 11:00pm, Sunday: 5:30pm – 9:00pm; Sunday Brunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm
  • Address: 815 Connecticut Ave., NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: (202) 659-3727

I had gone to Tonic for a drink before when a friend and I were waiting for a couple of seats to open at Adam Express.  We decided to go back when Thai Fest Day was cancelled due to the rain.  Although we didn’t know that and so we drove up there.  Then when we realized there was no one else and no tents, we drove back and remembered Tonic was on our way home.

  • Food: I ordered the BBQ chicken sandwich with the BBQ sauce on the side.  The chicken sandwich was good, but a little on the dry side.  Thankfully, the BBQ sauce and the beer helped it all go down easily.  But the key was the tater tots.  Yes, the same little golden potato nuggets the school lunch lady served you.  First of all, I don’t know a lot of restaurants that serve “tots” in DC.  But whatever because Tonic serves ’em right — meaning they’re crispy and hot! 
  • Service: I love these bartenders.  They crack me up with their dry wit.  If you can’t take sarcasm, then don’t sit at the bar. 
  • Atmosphere: I’ve never been to the main dining room floor because we always (that’s the two times I’ve been) go to the bar in the basement.  It’s a comfortable bar with three flat screen TVs (sometimes they’re on various sports games or sometimes, it’s on random movies/TV shows like Charlie’s Angels).  It’s also dark so it’d be a perfect place to spend a rainy, crappy day. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: The “tots” are reason enough to come back for more.  But add the fact they’ve got a nice selection of beer and fun bartenders and you’ve got a perfect neighborhood bar and restaurant.   

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5-7 PM: half price draft beer, drinks and burgers.  Tuesdays: get a free bottle of select wines with a purchase of two entrees.  Wednesdays: kids under 12 eat free from the kid’s menu 5-8 PM with the purchase of one entree.

Details:

  • Hours:Restaurant Sun-Thurs 5-10:30 PM, Fri & Sat 5-11 PM; Brunch Sat & Sun 10 AM-3 PM; Bar Sun-Thurs 5-2 AM; Fri & Sat 5-3 AM; Pick-up available 5-11 daily
  • Address: 3155 Mt. Pleasant Street; Washington, DC 20010
  • Ph: 202-986-7661

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in DC is Hook.  Is it the fact that it’s an organic and sustainable restaurant in DC?  Is it the fact that the pastry chef is so widely respected?  Or is it because Barton Seaver is such a cutie?  Yeah…

Hook - Georgetown  Tackle Box and Hook - Georgetown

  • Food: To start off the meal, I ordered the calamari salad which had a great grilled, simple flavor.  So fresh and so good.  For my main course, I ordered the seared Steel Head Trout.  The flavor of the fish was simple and was a bit like salmon (but less oily!).   My dining companions ordered the Artic Char which had a great grilled taste and the Sablefish (my least favorite of the table).  For dessert, we ordered the Apple Tart (with almond frangipane, caramel sauce, and bourbon ice cream), donuts and coffee, and Bittersweet Chocolate Torte (with caramel ice cream, salted cashews).  My favorite dessert was the donuts and coffee — although they were much smaller than Buddakan, they were equally delicious. 

Hook Apple Tart  Hook Coffee and Donuts  Hook Bittersweet Chocolate Torte

  • Service: Their servers are put through an intense one week course on fish so they are able to talk to diners about what the fish tastes like (and what it’s similar to).  They’re also always polite and really good.  They know when to stop by to see how the food is and also when to leave the table alone.  I get a sense that most are professional servers. 
  • Atmosphere: At the end of the meal with the bill, they give everyone a fish handout to take with you on what fish is OK to eat and what isn’t (as far as being sustainable. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: This is one of my favorite restaurants in DC because the food is cooked simply but amazing.  The sides that accompany the main entree compliment perfectly.  The appetizers are amazing.  Desserts are ridiculously good.  The servers are fantastic.  There’s nothing else you can say — all good.  If you haven’t been, you must!

Details:

  • Reservations are strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Dinner: Sunday – Tuesday 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday – Saturday 5pm to 11pm; Lunch: Tuesday – Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10:30am to 2:30 pm
  • Address: 3241 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
  • Ph: (202) 625-4488

After hearing so many great things about Blue Duck Tavern, I finally went. Why did it take me so long to go?

  • Food:I went with a client and thankfully, a cool client that’s into sharing! So we ordered their braised barbecue beef “long rib”, crab cakes, triple fried fries, and glazed baby carrots.  The fries were more like logs (like when you cut tofu into eighths). But they were still insanely crispy!  And readers, you know I don’t like thick fries but damn, these were so yummy! The crab cakes were definitely some of the best in town – full of crab with a little breadcrumbs to hold it all together.  You know, the way crab cakes are supposed to be made.  Plus, there was a remoulade sauce on the side that didn’t overwhelm.  The beef was insanely tender and fell off the bone so easily.  The barbecue sauce tasted like good, homemade sauce.  Now on to my favorite course, dessert.  We ordered the chocolate cake with a side of vanilla ice cream (had to order this separately).  Our waiter made the vanilla ice cream sound like it was mind blowing good – but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong – the ice cream was good – rich, creamy vanilla, but it wasn’t earth shaking.  The chocolate cake wasn’t overly sweet and had a fantastic dark chocolate with a light rum flavor.  Yum. 
  • Service: Our server was nice, but a little pushy.
  • Atmosphere: It has a wide open feel and hundreds of people could easily be in the restaurant and you’d never know.  While they have a very open kitchen, the chefs/cooks are very quiet!  The interior has dark wood tables and chairs (and accent pieces on the walls), but the floor is very light and balances out nicely.  It’s comfortable and beautiful — definitely an impressive place to dine! 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: Here’s another restaurant that would easily impress even the toughest critics.  The food was cooked simply but so wonderfully!  Oh and don’t be surprised when you pull up to the Park Hyatt — this amazing restaurant is on the first floor of the hotel. 

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Breakfast in the Lounge: 6:30am – 10:30am; Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Weekend Brunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
  • Address: 1201 24th Street NW, Washington DC 20037
  • Ph: (202) 419-6755

After dog sitting for P3, she was quite generous with her “thank you” gift and gave me a gift certificate for Cashion’s.  I was excited because I’d never been before — and so I finally had the opportunity the other week.

  • Food:To put it mildly, some of the best appetizers ever!  I ordered the grilled octupus which had a great, simple grilled flavor.  My friend ordered the fried oysters in grits.  I’m not a grits fan (I don’t get why people like it, I really don’t.  It’s just about putting a lot of butter on it and if I put that much butter on anything I ate, I’d love it too).  But these were really good (probably a lot of butter).  And the oysters were super crispy with a bit of corn meal.  For the main, I ordered the seared tuna with black beans, mango, and cilantro.  While the tuna was perfectly cooked, I thought it lacked uniqueness.  And I think they forgot the cilantro because I didn’t taste it in my dish.  My friend ordered the shad roe.  Now I don’t know why she did, but she did.  If you don’t know shad roe, here’s a photo and an explanation.  And because she didn’t like it, I only got half of my seared tuna.  Oh well.  I ended up eating a lot of the bread since I was still hungry. 
  • Service: Our server was a bit too eager throughout the meal.  She kept asking if we understood the menu, which is nice the first time and annoying the second and third.  Perhaps we looked confused?
  • Atmosphere:From the exterior, it seems like it’ll be a small restaurant.  But the looks are deceiving because it’s long.  Straight back on the left is a bit of an elevated bar.  Then there are tables throughout.  We were fortunate to get a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows so it didn’t feel claustophobic, but I could see how that could happen when those windows are closed!
  • Attire: Business casual/casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I’ll definitely go back to try out other main courses and I hope they’ll offer those fried oysters again!  That’s the trouble with changing menus — you never know if your favorite is going to be available.  At the same time, you get to have new favorites!  So P3, thanks for the gift certificate!  Another good recommendation!

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Mondays closed; Tues 5:30-10 PM; Wed-Sat 5:30-11 PM; Sun 5:30-10 PM; Sunday Brunch 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Late Night Menu 12 AM-2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Address: 1819 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-797-1819

I know I said I’d only blog about the really good restaurants, but sometimes there are good concepts that don’t go quite as I think the chefs meant.  I think that’s what happened with Left Bank breakfasts. 

Before I get to the food, I wanted to bring up that the chairs (not the booths) are just slightly too high for the tables.  So it makes eating just slightly awkward.

Anyway, I went with a friend for breakfast one morning and ordered the Eggs Norwegian.  I chose the poached eggs (am into that style right now) and it was sitting on top of a toasted English muffin, smoked salmon, spinach, and chive hollandaise.  Sounds really yummy right?  All really tasty components and healthy (minus the hollandaise)!  Good concept!

Now I’m not much of a hollandaise fan but my friend that I went with, she knows hollandaise.  So I ordered it on the side so she could tell me how it rated.

Apparently, it was just so-so.  And that’s how I’d explain my breakfast.  There was perhaps 3 TBSP of potatoes on the side — it was a bit of a sad looking plate.  Plus, one of the eggs was not poached, but hard (the yolk never broke).  Everything was also cold. 

Interior is fun though and would be a great spot to grab drinks with friends, just not breakfast (especially since there are so many other great places in the area!).  It’s a wide open bar/restaurant and would be a spectacular spot on a beautiful weather day when their floor-to-ceiling windows are open. 

BTW, they also have some good happy hour offerings.  Daily happy hours until 7 PM with $4 beers and $5 rails.  Mondays are half-priced red and white wines; Tues & Wed are Smirnoff & Flavors night with mixed drinks going for $5 and martinis for $6; Thursdays are martini madness with half-priced Left Bank specialty drinks until 8 PM.  Sat and Sun starting at 10 are $9 Moet Chandon Mimosas.   

Details:

  • Hours: Brunch Sat 10 AM-4 PM & Sun 10 AM-4:30 PM; Dinner Sun-Thurs 5-11 PM & Fri-Sat 5-12 AM; Sushi Sun-Thurs 5-11:30 PM, Fri-Sat 5-1AM
  • Address: 2424 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 464-2100

I don’t know why, but the Beacon is always viewed as a good place for HH (happy hour) and food.  Personally, I disagree.  Instead, I prefer to tell people about Nage.

  • Food:While their menu can seem somewhat limited (it’s seasonal), their chalkboard offers another 10 various options — and from that menu, you can have a pre-fixe meal (3 courses for $35).  I’ve been a few times and have had some good meals.  The mac and cheese is more creamy than cheesy, so it’s definitely not 15ria.  Their Chesapeake oysters with spinach, fennel, mushrooms, and Asiago cheese are good.  Most recently, I ordered the Prime Rib burger which was cooked perfectly, though I didn’t care for their fries (they were a mixture of potatoes — including a few sweet potatoes, but not worth the calories since they weren’t crispy…you know how I love my fries crispy!).  As far as dessert, their best offering is the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.  I’m not a huge bread pudding fan, but this was insanely good! 
  • Service: They’ve always been courteous and efficient without being annoying.  In other words, good service.
  • Atmosphere: Strange as it might sound, this restaurant is in the Marriott Courtyard, down the block from Beacon.  But don’t let that scare you away!  They offer way better options for wine and beer and much better food.  Their restaurant is small and only has about 20 tables with a few bar tables and seats.  They also have a flat screen TV which always runs various sports games.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$ if you order off their bistro menu; $$$ if you order an app and main entree
  • Overall:  Next time you want to go to Beacon, try out Nage instead.  As a friend said when she went, “It’s not the best meal ever, but it’s pretty good.  I mean, it’s better than Beacon.”  Although the $$$ may make you pause from making it your new weekly hangout.   But their apps are reasonably priced so you could definitely go after work without spending an arm and a leg.

Happy Hour: I’ll have to let you know — I forgot to take a look but I know they have 1/2 priced wine (I think it’s on Mondays).

Details:

  • Reservations are suggested, but to be honest, I’ve never needed them.
  • Hours: Breakfast Daily 7-10:30 am; Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30 pm; Daily Dinner 5 pm – 9:30 pm
  • Address:1600 Rhodes Island Avenue, NW; Washington, D.C. 20036
  • Ph:  (202) 448-8005

I’m one of those.  I like to read reviews about places before I go so I know what to expect.  And the review I read about Vinoteca and their food was, to put it nicely, dismal.  So what do I do when my friend, who was going with me, asked about this place?  I say,  “Yeah, the wine list is supposed to be pretty good but the food supposedly sucks.”  Ha ha, nothing like setting everyone’s expectations!  

  • Food:After reading the horrible reviews about this place, my expectations were incredibly low.  While our server provided water right away, we didn’t get any bread until we ordered our food.  So we started off with a trio of charcuterie.  The bread was interesting that they provided — it was dark with black olives perhaps?  Not quite sure what kind of bread it was, but it was a bit dry.  I preferred the second type of bread that they gave us (after we asked for more) which was softer than a baguette, but had a good flavor.  Then we ordered their $12 mussels.  When you compare their mussels with the $8.25 from Les Halles, there’s no comparison.  Les Halles rules.  
  • Service: Our server didn’t seem happy about working when we were there.  She never smiled and seemed annoyed when we needed a couple of minutes to review the menu.
  • Atmosphere: They offer some great photos on their Web site here.  Inside it’s a comfortable (yet very loud) bar.  The dining area is small, but seems like a good spot for large groups. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’d go again for their happy hour to try their sliders, but to go pay full-priced considering the service and their mussels, I’d skip it. 

Happy Hour— Sunday-Thursday from 5-7 PM, they offer 10 wines by the glass; 3 sliders for $6; and 1/2 panini and fall squash soup for $5.55.

Details:

  • Hours: Sun 4:30 PM-2 AM; Mon closed; Tues-Thurs 4:30 PM-2 AM; Fri & Sat 4:30 PM-3 AM; Brunch Sat & Sun 10 AM-3 PM
  • Address: 1940 11th Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: 202-332-WINE

Yet again, I’ve ventured to Virginia!  This time, it was for Farrah Olivia during Restaurant Week with P3.

  • Food:Offering their entire menu during RW (with a few extra charges for some dishes), it was an overall outstanding experience.  P3 ordered the painted soup with fruitwood smoked apple, gingered squash, and beet cider.  P3 loved the smoky apples and the soup had a great creamy flavor.  I ordered the shocked escolar with soy pearls, pickled quince, and wasabi.  Now I didn’t know this, but escolar, if eaten in large quantities, *ahem* can cause some gastrointestinal problems.  This quantity, at least for me, did not.  Then P3 ordered the chicken breast with curry banana crust and quinoa salad.  The banana crust was phenomenal with an amazing sweet and crunchy texture.  The quinoa salad was also really good.  I ordered the pork loin which was really moist and delicious.  For dessert, P3 ordered the citrus fruits with lemon cheesecake, candied citrus segments, and thyme syrup.  I ordered the chocolate brownie, toasted marshmallow, and raspberry-beet sorbet.  While P3’s was good, I loved mine — and I don’t even like marshmallows that much.  For $15 each, we chose the wine pairings with each course.  Wow was that a good deal! 
  • Service: P3 thought our server was coming over a bit too much, but I thought she was being very attentive.  She also clearly knew a lot about the menu and was able to answer all our questions. 
  • Atmosphere:Next door to a Balducci’s, the exterior is deceiving because inside, there’s such an outstanding restaurant.  It’s a small dining room — only about 20-30 tables.  The interior is warm and inviting, filled with browns and greens. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall:I loved it.  The food, presentation, and service was phenomenal.  This was my favorite restaurant to try during Restaurant Week because I felt I was given a lot of great menu choices.  I definitely recommend trying this place out if you haven’t already!

Details:

  • Reservations required.
  • Hours: Tue-Sat 11:00 am-2:30 pm, 5:30-10 pm, Sun 11 am-2:30 pm, 5-9 pm
  • Address: 600 Franklin St.; Alexandria, VA 22314
  • Ph: 703-778-2233

The purpose of Restaurant Week, in my opinion, is to go to places that are a bit out of your price range so you can “test” them at an inexpensive price and see whether you’d want to go back as a “normal” customer. 

As soon as Restaurant Week was announced, Kinkead’s was one of the first places I made a reservation. 

In case you’re wondering, the real reason why Restaurant Week started was because January and August were the slowest times for restaurants and this was a PR tactic to get more people to go during the slow period.   I think it’s worked!

  • Food:I ordered the Thai-styled mussels which were in a spicy and creamy sauce with cilantro on top.  While there were only 6 to the bowl, they were a great combination of spicy and creamy.  I wanted to take the entire bread basket and dip into the sauce.  My friend ordered the seafood chowder which was really good as well.  There were lots of chunks of seafood, potato, etc.  Then we both paid the extra $10 for the lobster roll with fries.  The roll was toasted (brioche bread perhaps?) but a little greasy.  There was an enormous scoop of lobster (with a bit of mayo) and a lot of chives on top.  So tasty.  Then there was a generous portion of fries, which were 75% crispy — had they stayed in the frier another 5 minutes, they would have been perfect.  But they were well-seasoned and pretty good.  Then we ordered the chocolate lava cake with caramel ice cream.  Damn me for eating the bread in the beginning!  I could only eat half the cake and ice cream, but it was really amazing.   
  • Service:I thought our server was very polite, but I was wondering where the ice team re-filler guy was…
  • Atmosphere: When you walk into the restaurant, you’re immediately greeted by the maitre d’ (or three).  On the right is their enormous bar with TVs and up the stairs is the dining area. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I left feeling incredibly full and happy.  In fact, I stayed full for the rest of the day and didn’t eat dinner. I thought the food was really good and I’m excited to go back.  Their raw bar seems like it’d be a fun thing to do sometime with a few friends, but definitely be prepared to spend some money when you go!

Details:

  • Reservations required. 
  • Hours: Sun-Fri lunch 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Sun-Thur dinner 5:30 PM-10 PM; Fri & Sat dinner 5:30-10:30; Daily Raw Bar 5:30-11 PM; Between Lunch/Brunch and dinner, they offer a light menu.
  • Address: 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202-296-7700

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